LONDON (JTA) – Queen Elizabeth II will honor an Israeli industrialist after he donated $20 million to projects involving the United Kingdom’s maritime heritage.
Sami Ofer will fund the project at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich. A new wing at the National Maritime Museum will be named the Sami Ofer Wing.
Ofer has been awarded an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the queen in recognition of his services to Britain’s maritime heritage, the British Embassy in Tel Aviv announced Thursday.
Since Ofer is not a British citizen, he cannot use the title Sir.
Ofer served in the Royal Navy during World War II. Later he and his brother, Yuli, created one of the largest shipping companies in the world, operating a significant part of its fleet from London.
Announcing the honor, The British Embassy in Tel Aviv added that “throughout his continued relations with London and its shipping community, Mr. Ofer developed deep admiration and respect for the U.K.’s maritime history.”
In Israel, Ofer withdrew an offer of a donation following a controversy over his request to name the museum after himself and his wife.